Bathroom Storage – Alternatives to the Medicine Cabinet

by Rachel Laurendeau on September 18, 2012

Last year when we were finishing our house, you wouldn’t believe how difficult it was to find a medicine cabinet that I really liked and that blended well with our master bathroom. Forget finding anything (that wasn’t ugly) at the home improvement and box stores and by the time I realized what a hunt it would be, I had missed the window of opportunity to have one custom built to go along with my vanity. Sure, there are plenty of beautiful and even artistic looking cabinets out there, but I also wasn’t willing to pay over $2000 for a little storage cabinet for my bathroom!

Typically, medicine cabinets are just that, shallow cabinets for keeping small, not-so-pretty bathroom items stashed away. They have traditionally been mirrored and are, more often than not, recessed into the wall. But just because this is how things are done conventionally, does not mean that you have to stay the course when remodeling your bathroom. There are innumerable storage options available to us now, so why not replace your old medicine cabinet with something more interesting.

Repurposed furniture
I’ve mentioned my love of repurposing furniture in previous blogs. Take a look around your home and see if you have any small cabinets, vanities or shelving that could be spruced up and used in your bathroom. If not, perhaps a trip to an antique market is in order. Or, you can take a new piece of furniture like this one from Pier 1 and use it in an unexpected way, as a bathroom storage cabinet by simply adding some drawer organizers and storage baskets.

Tall, skinny cabinets
Tall, skinny cabinets are ideal for narrow bathrooms or tight spaces. Depending on what you need to store, you can opt for a model with or without doors. Or, choose one that has doors on the bottom and open shelves at the top.

Open recessed cabinet in place of medicine cabinet
If your bathroom already had a recessed medicine cabinet on a side wall or above the toilet, why not take advantage of that recessed space and build your own little recessed cabinet. Take a look at this DIY tutorial from HGTV for easy to follow instructions.
If your bathroom vanity has plenty of drawers and cabinets, you may not need any extra storage space. Instead, invest in some inexpensive drawer organizers and under sink storage organizers, caddies, baskets, etc. I keep my medicines and first aid kit in a vintage toiletry suitcase under the sink and it works perfectly.

Bathtub and shower caddies
For those products that need to be accessible during bath or shower time, place a shower or bathtub caddy in your newly refinished tub.

This is not to say that you should not install a medicine cabinet if you find one that you like or if you find one that suits your purposes. You can even find cabinets that lock if you are concerned about children’s safety around medicines.

Sometimes, all your bathroom needs is a little sprucing up: replace the tiny medicine cabinet with a large framed mirror and a vintage stand-alone storage cabinet, have your bathtub refinished and put up some cheerful curtains and voila: instant home improvement!

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